I have written a lot about pills over the years and many of the posts feature my favourite cartoon character, “Pilly Galore”. (You can see all my earlier blogs on this subject by clicking on “PILLS” in the TAG CLOUD).
Pilly would be most dismayed by the latest dust-up between the NHS and pharmacists. Dr Keith Ridge, the Chief Pharmacist for NHS England, is trying to cut down on the billions of pills older people take each year. Pilly would not like that at all, since she measures the state of her ill-health by the number of pills she takes each day. The more the better……..or should it be the more the iller! Either way her favourite GP, Dr Astroglax, keeps prescribing them for her, so she must need them.
Dr Ridge says “older people are taking too many pointless pills and it’s a scandal”. He has found that “one in seven hospital admissions in the over 75’s, was the result of a drug problem” and that “20% of medicines were unnecessary and half were not taken properly”. His solution is to urge pharmacists to sell less pills! Which seems to me to be rather wishful thinking.
I agree with most of what he says about the problem, it certainly reflects my experience of running nursing homes for many years and seeing just how many pills people take.
But Dr Ridge is clearly no businessman and is unlikely to succeed up against the massive advertising and promotion budgets of the drug companies. His main target should be the GP’s who prescribe the pills in the first place.
Here’s how Doctor Astroglax goes about his daily job. Firstly a pill to cure the ailment their patient presents to them, …..then later another pill to cure the side effects of the first pill, ….then more problems, ……then more pills. All free to older people. What would be ideal to save GP’s and pharmacists time with all that prescribing and prescriptions, would be one big ‘cure-all pill’.
Perhaps a better answer would be to charge patients for pills? But I can’t see Pilly ever agreeing to that.